Funny Women

If only.

I didn’t even know that Adam Corolla said what he did until days after the fact, when I got clued into it by all the Adam Corolla jokes coming from the female comedians in my Twitter feed. At first I couldn’t believe that I’d missed something so big, but then I remembered that it was Adam Corolla who said it, and since I watch lots of popular TV shows , look at funny internet videos, and listen to hilarious comedians, I obviously have no way of knowing what that guy is doing.

I mean, shit, what is Adam Corolla doing? My last memory of him was when a stoner in my 11th grade math class said that his three month long talk show was ‘totally groundbreaking.’ What was he doing in the seven year gap between then and him telling the New York Post that women aren’t funny? For some reason I’m picturing him working at an Outback Steakhouse in Bloomington, Indiana – although the Bloomington part might just be because I’m thinking of a Bloomin’ Onion.  

Are women funny? Of course they are, you fucking idiot.* Anybody who says that women aren’t funny obviously hasn’t met my mother.

*Critical responses like this don’t carry the same weight when you’re answering a rhetorical question you just asked yourself.

This is my mother wearing a Viking hat.

My Mom is arguably the funniest person I’ve ever met. She’s witty, irreverent, cerebral, and totally unafraid to be completely vulgar and make dildo jokes if the situation calls for it (which it often does in the Capps household). If not for my mother, this blog would be about fiscal policy analysis and black and white historical photographs of bridges instead of dick jokes and profanity. You can decide for yourself which one is a better use of my time.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily disprove Carolla’s argument – as he puts it, in his 50’s greaser lingo*, “When it comes to comedy, of course there’s Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin — super-funny chicks. But if you’re playing the odds? No… The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks.

*I realize that I use the term ‘chicks’ occasionally to refer to women, but after seeing Adam Carolla’s heavy use of it I’m going to quit. That douchewaffle ruined the word for all of us.

Now, I believe that Adam Carolla’s observation – that there are more men who are successful comedians or just ‘funny’ in general than there are women – is, in a way, correct. Unlike Adam Carolla, I don’t believe that it has anything to do with some sort of hardwired genetic predisposition, probably because, unlike Adam Carolla, I’m at least reasonably intelligent.

The fact remains, though – when I list off friends of mine who crack me up on a regular basis, I find myself listing more men than women. What this comes down to isn’t the fact that with a vagina comes the inability to tell jokes; it’s that on a cultural level I don’t think young girls get as much encouragement to be funny as young boys do.

A sense of humor isn’t something you just decide to have – it’s developed over the course of a lifetime, starting when you’re a kid. With little boys, it starts out with talking about forbidden topics, like farts and wieners, to make other kids laugh, because farts and wieners are and always will be funny.

Those are really the only things little kids can make jokes about – for one, vulgarity is the easiest comic territory, and two, with relatively little life experience, understanding of social norms, or mastery of language, about the only way you can make other kids laugh is by talking about the stuff that comes out of your butt.

For the most part, parents accept and tolerate some amount of this under the ‘boys will be boys’ clause, but girls aren’t so lucky. Even in the 21st century, the majority of girls are taught from an early age to be proper and ladylike, qualities that explicitly forbid rewording nursery rhymes to talk about Disney characters drinking pee.

Things like this have longstanding ramifications: Boys grow up encouraged, or at least allowed, to crack jokes and hone a sense of humor, while girls are steered away from it. Even girls with progressively minded feminist parents still have to go through the shark tank of being a teenaged girl trying to be popular in high school – and adolescent female social cliques don’t really value humor unless it’s being used to make fun of somebody else. (I would know – I was usually the one being made fun of.)

So it’s not that women aren’t funny, it’s that society has been telling them that they shouldn’t be funny since pretty much day one. How can you fucking blame them? You go out and overcome a lifetime of social conditioning and then hone a skill that the other half of the planet has been encouraged to have since birth and tell me how easy it is!

Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Rachel Bloom, Aubrey Plaza, Ellen DeGeneres, my mother, my friends Kristin, Holly, Amelia, Lizzie, Allison, other Lizzie, Katie, Molly, Kristen, other Holly, Sarah, Bri, Chloe, Sonia, Emily, Danielle, Shelly, and the tens of millions of other funny women in this country aren’t mutants who won the genetic lottery and magically gained the ability to have tits and be funny at the same time – they’re funny people who gave a hearty ‘fuck you’ to social norms dictating that jokes aren’t okay for girls.

And to any of you who are raising daughters, let me say this: For Christ’s sake, encourage them to funny. Force them to tell you jokes at the dinner table – even bad ones. If they want to keep the funny on the DL during high school, that’s alright, but you let them know that in the real world there isn’t a single guy who’s ever said, “I was talking to this awesome girl the other night, but then she made me laugh. Huge turn off.”

Hell, it’s a source of constant frustration to me that Louis C.K.’s oldest daughter is still something like 11 years younger than I am. Because I guarantee you, both of his daughters are going to grow up to be the funniest, most well adjusted women in history, and if by some wild luck I were to start dating one of them once she was of legal age, Louis C.K. would devote the rest of his career to talking about the poofy haired old creep who was fucking his hilarious daughter.

Truman Capps acknowledges that this whole fracas was obviously Adam Carolla desperately clutching at publicity.